Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

The Rise and Fall of Umbro: A Journey Through Football Fashion

is umbro a good soccer brand

In the world of football, the ebb and flow of brands is as fascinating as the game itself. While giants like Nike and adidas dominate the market today, there was a time when Umbro reigned supreme. The English brand’s jerseys and jackets, adorned with its iconic horizontal diamonds, were a symbol of both style and quality. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the rise and fall of Umbro, a brand deeply woven into the fabric of European sportswear.

From Humble Beginnings to Sporting Icons

The story of Umbro begins in 1924 when the Humphrey brothers, Harold and Wallace, founded the company. The name “Umbro” is a combination of their last name (Um) and the initials of their first names (bro). Initially, Umbro focused on producing jerseys and equipment for soccer and rugby teams. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that they made their mark on the wider public by sponsoring Manchester City, marking the beginning of their journey to prominence.

A Brand That Defined an Era

From the 1980s to the early 2000s, Umbro established itself as the go-to brand for the best clubs in Europe and national teams worldwide. Clubs like Ajax, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and many more proudly sported Umbro’s designs. Even smaller provincial teams donned the English brand’s iconic logo. In Italy, Umbro left an indelible mark on Inter and Lazio, teams that not only won important trophies but also embodied the stylistic essence of Umbro’s aesthetics.

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The Italian Connection

In Italy, Umbro’s success was closely tied to Inter and Lazio. Both clubs achieved remarkable triumphs while adorned in Umbro’s designs. Inter’s distinctive thin, horizontal Nerazzurri stripes and buttoned collar, combined with the club’s logo, represented the pinnacle of Umbro’s craftsmanship. Meanwhile, Lazio showcased the brand’s creativity with unique patterns and colors, epitomizing the fusion of style and sportswear.

A Historic Super Cup Final

The significance of Umbro in Italy was further highlighted in May 1998 when Inter and Lazio faced each other wearing the Umbro logo during the UEFA Super Cup final in Paris. The match itself ended with a memorable technical gesture from Ronaldo, a double pass to Marchegiani, sealing Inter’s victory. Umbro’s influence in football reached its zenith during this period, leaving an indelible legacy.

Manchester: A Tale of Two Clubs

While Umbro enjoyed a historic association with Manchester City, dressing them from ’75 to ’97 and again from 2009 to 2013, Manchester United flirted with the popularity of Nike before experiencing their most successful moments with Umbro. United’s 1999 Champions League triumph, punctuated by Solskjaer’s last-minute goal against Bayern Munich, was achieved wearing an Umbro kit. Although the iconic all-red outfit from the Barcelona final might not be Umbro’s best work, the brand’s experimental and vibrant designs in training and away shirts captured fans’ imaginations.

The Nineties: A Kaleidoscope of Colors

The ’90s saw Umbro embrace a visionary approach to design. Their jerseys featured brick-style color projections, ranging from gray to vibrant purples and colorful sparks. These patterns, reminiscent of the mid-nineties’ commercials, defined the style both on and off the field. Today, the nineties aesthetic continues to captivate both nostalgic fans and modern-day hypebeasts, with even streetwear giants like Supreme collaborating with Umbro to create unique football-inspired collections.

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is umbro a good soccer brand


Q: Is Umbro still a popular brand in football?

A: While Umbro may have lost some of its market dominance, it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of football enthusiasts who appreciate its rich history and iconic designs.

Q: Do any teams currently wear Umbro kits?

A: Yes, Umbro currently sponsors teams such as West Ham, Brentford, Derby County, Schalke 04, and the Irish national team, ensuring the brand’s legacy lives on.

Q: Are Umbro jerseys still in demand?

A: Yes, Umbro’s revival in recent years has sparked a resurgence in demand for their jerseys, with fans eagerly seeking out vintage and new releases alike.


Umbro’s journey through the world of football fashion is a tale of triumph and nostalgia. While the brand may no longer dominate the market, its impact on the sport cannot be overstated. From famous clubs to iconic moments, Umbro’s contribution to the beautiful game remains etched in history. So, the next time you see those two horizontal diamonds, take a moment to appreciate the legacy of an English brand that once stood proudly atop the footballing world.

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